Oregon State heads to Tucson and a Thursday game with Arizona carrying momentum of a Civil War win. Here's a look at the 17th-ranked Wildcats.
Arizona (12-4, 2-1 Pac-12) is coming off an 80-77 loss at Colorado last Saturday that broke a nine-game win streak. Deandre Ayton had a game-high 26 points on 11 of 17 from the floor. The Wildcats shot a season-low 38.4 percent.
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 freshman, is averaging 20.1 points, a conference-leading 11.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. In three conference games, he's averaging 24.3 points (while shooting 65.2 percent from the floor) and 12.7 rebounds.
"He’s big. He can score inside and out. He can handle the ball. He can guard basically one through five," OSU coach Wayne Tinkle said. "When he’s dialed in and playing like coach (Sean) Miller wants him to, he’s probably one of the best big men that we’ve seen in this league in quite a while."
Ayton and OSU freshman Alfred Hollins played together one season at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, Arizona.
Junior guard Allonzo Trier averages 19.6 points; sophomore guard Rawle Alkins 15.6 points and 5.1 rebounds; and senior center 10.3 rebounds and 6.6 rebounds.
Alkins missed the first nine games of the season due to injury. He has three 20-point games in seven games back. Ayton and Trier were named to the midseason top 25 for the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the top college basketball player.
Senior guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright has a conference-best 3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio and is second in 3-point percentage at 47.8.
The Wildcats' top four scorers shoot 50 percent or better, led by Ayton's 62.5. As a team, Arizona shoots 50.4 percent from the floor, 38.3 percent on 3-pointers and 76.8 on free throws.
Sean Miller is in his ninth year as Arizona's head coach.
In 13 years as a head coach, he's taken seven teams to the NCAA Sweet 16 and four to the Elite Eight. He has a career win percentage of 75.0, has won 76.8 percent at Arizona and the Wildcats have won 74.1 percent of their Pac-12 games under Miller.
He was previously the head coach at Xavier for five years.
Arizona has won 10 of its last 11 games against Oregon State. The Beavers have one win in Tucson (63-55 in 2009-10) since the 1982-83 season.
INJURY UPDATE: Oregon State junior center Gligorije Rakocevic is considered questionable with a right calf injury that has kept him out the past four games. He did some running and participated in limited half-court drills earlier this week but has yet to be cleared as a full-court participant.